Disclaimer: If you’re one of the people who’s happily marching in the Mink Lungs hype parade, more power to you, have fun and all. I don’t want to be the guy pissing on your head, but this article makes no pretense to be anything other than me saying I could care less.
So Tuesday night I went to see Quasar Wut Wut open for the Mink Lungs at Schubas, in part because I have been going to see the Quasars for about eight years. But I was also lured to the show by hype like this:
I’ll Take It (Arena Rock Recordings), the second full-length from Brooklyn’s Mink Lungs, has no filler. None. Even the best albums I hear usually surround a few great tracks with a bunch of pretty good ones. But every song on this album—and there are 17 of ’em—needs to be here. The Lungs are as much a font of restless invention as, say, Talking Heads ever were, with a “fuck form, function is fun” willingness to jostle, swerve, jump, hump, or whisper, plus so much heart they’re never merely irritating or “challenging” for the sake of being challenging. They get compared to the Pixies a lot. I wish I liked the Pixies this much. —Monica Kendrick, Chicago Reader
Comparisons to Guided By Voices and the Flaming Lips crop up in other reviews. And the band’s Web site says Details magazine has called I’ll Take It the best album by a New York band since the Talking Heads’ Remain in Light.
Of course the show failed to live up to this billing. But what could, short of reanimating Kurt Cobain for a Nirvana reunion (with Elvis driving in from Kalamazoo as the opener)? I watched about half of the Lungs’ set and headed back out to the bar for a beer and some conversation. (Hey, at least I didn’t just stand around talking over their playing—like most of the people there did during the opening acts.)
It’s not that the Lungs were bad. They’ve got great guitar tones and that winsome personality thing going for them. But I was bored by their happy, unabashedly middle-of-the-road indie sound. I’m kind of over the whole postmodern, self-conscious hipster power pop thing. Then again, I was never into it to begin with.